Medicinal and aromatic plants

Medicinal and aromatic plants

Medicinal and aromatic plants (1)

Eucalyptus citriodora (Lemon-scented gum)

Eucalyptus thrives both in the tropics and subtropics. High humidity and plenty of rainfall are conducive to its luxuriant growth. It can be grown in varied types of soils. The essential oil is used in the preparation of cosmetics, hair oil and soap and forms a raw material for menthol manufacture.


Preparation of land

Clear the land of jungle growth. Take pits of size 45 cm x 45 cm x 45 cm at a spacing 2 m x 2 m at least one month prior to planting and allow to weather. Fill up the pits with soil completely so as to prevent water stagnation.


Planting

Nursery is raised and 4-5 months old seedlings are planted with the commencement of southwest monsoon. After planting, press the soil around the seedling and form mound to prevent stagnation of water.


Manuring

Manuring is not usually done. However, application of 400 g ammonium sulphate, 60 g superphosphate and 25 g muriate of potash per plant per year during August from third year onwards is found to be useful in increasing leaf yield.

 

Aftercultivation

During first year, cultivate the rows in both directions to prevent weed growth. Hand weeding is done around the seedlings. Fire belts are to be provided all around.

 

Intercropping

Eucalyptus can be grown along with coffee, lemongrass and palmarosa. In the first four years, intercropping with pineapple, yam and vegetables can be done.

 

Harvest and curing

Pruning of side branches may be started from second year onwards. Lopping at a height of 2 m is done during third or fourth year and thereafter lopping is resorted to at half-yearly intervals leaving only one branch. For extracting oil, steam distillation is resorted to. Optimum time for distillation is two hours and the average recovery of oil is 1.5-1.8 per cent of the net weight of leaves. Wilting of the cut leaves under shade for 24 hours before distillation will increase the oil recovery percentage.